Interested in some of the technical aspects of how a search engine might work? I came across a PowerPoint presentation earlier today that gives a glimpse of some of the networks behind Ask.com.
The presentation was part of one of the keynote addresses given during the First International Conference on Scalable Information Systems (Infoscale), held in Hong Kong earlier this year, from May 29th to June 1.
From a look at the topics posted in the technical program section, it appears that the speakers involved provided some interesting insights into how a large information system might work.
The keynote speaker was Tao Yang, who is Chief Scientist and Senior Vice President at Ask.com. His presentation was on Large-Scale Internet Search at Ask.com (the header at the top of the page “Large-Scale Internet Search at Ask.com” is the link to the pdf – they didn’t include an underline for that link so it isn’t easily apparent that it links to the presentation, and the direct link to the presentation is http://www.cs.hku.hk/infoscale06/presentation/keynote.ppt). Tao Yang is noted as being one of the co-inventors of the Expertrank (Teoma) search algorithm.
The presentation covers an overview of the company and its products, the Expertrank ranking system, and the challenges that the company faces in building a scalable information system including the Neptune middleware that they use and fault detection and isolation. The description of Expertrank is a nice high-level look at their system of ranking.